Best and Worst of the New Netflix Season of Arrested Development

by - Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Obviously, this is going to be spoiler-laden, but I will keep everything brief, so I wont give it away in case you haven't gotten there yet. As I said previously, I thought overall it was a pretty solid return- it was still funny, though having all of the characters have very different objectives and narratives worked better in some cases than others (the worst, I thought, was Michael's efforts to have everyone sign away their movie rights, only to rip them up. The payoff really wasn't worth the amount of time that gag was given).


#1- "Hello Darkness, my old friend..."- Made me hoot and howl everytime.
-- The heavy use of Lucille 2- Genius. I think if you have Liza Minelli in your corner, you have to use her as much as possible. She is hilarious and amazing and gorgeous.
-- All the Gob episodes- they were my favorite and consistently both icky and hilarious.
--George Michael's sexual awakening- Too funny.
-- Steve Holt- his plot line was so sad and pathetic, and it just made for some of the saddest/funniest part of the show.
-- The narrative weave- I thought a lot of it was great and just so smart. I loved how it embraced the new format and didn't go through time in a linear way. It was also fun to try to catch the characters in the background of the other story. I also loved the scene in the penthouse, where each time we came back to it, we realized there were more characters in the room. They recognized that part of the pleasure was just seeing them all together again, so it was fun how they passed those moments out in small doses.
-- It gets better each episode, as things layer on top of one another, and really hits its stride on episode 7.


#1- Kristen Wiig and Seth Rogan- Why??? Just, why??? This added literally nothing, and neither seemed to make much effort to copy Walter and Tambor's mannerisms. I would much rather they had just done what they did before, putting Walter and Tambor in retro clothes and bad wigs when they are doing a flashback. I just didn't get it.
-- Too many guest stars in general- We get it, this thing is a cult classic and everyone wants to be a part of it. Sometimes, you need to reel it back for the sake of keeping the focus where it needs to be. The original show had its ups and downs with guest stars (Charlize Theron is basically the worst plot line in season three, and Carl Wethers is my FAVORITE).
-- The love triangle- Blech. Didn't we do this once before with Heather Graham? Boring and kind of a lame way to stir up drama. It took up too much time.
-- Too much Debris and face blind guy- The face blindness only paid off in one actual laugh. I thought the Tobias and Lindsey plot lines were kind of the weakest until she started on her political stuff.
-- It's much slower. Part of this is that the netflix venue allows for them to not have to fit everything into 21 minutes. In some ways that is a good thing, but it also seems to move very slowly, and some of the jokes are given more airtime than they deserve.

See? Not bad. I will think of like 50 more on both sides as the day goes on, and you really can't judge until you've watched it more than once (because we can all admit, we laughed more watching the first few seasons a second or third time). Part of the weird pleasure of the show is that you are watching a very funny, but very smart person weave a tale, and you want to feel like you are in on the joke. It's what makes the fans insufferable. There is a pride about being in the club. But the other side of this is that a lot of the jokes (especially in the meta-narrative sense) play like inside jokes, so the more you KNOW what is coming, the funnier the jokes become.

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